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5 Online Art Classes to Unleash Your Inner Van Gogh

Whether you want to try your hand at art or brush up on old skills, there's an online drawing class for you.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
4 min read
See at Udemy
The Ultimate Drawing Course: Beginner to Advanced with Jaysen and Quinten Batchelor
See at Udemy
The Complete Drawing Masterclass: From Beginner to Advanced with Chad Newman and Jonathan Simon
See at Creative Live
Learn to Draw: Landscape with Amy Wynne
Creative Live
See at Skillshare
Pen and Ink Illustration: The Basics for Creating Magical Drawings with Yasmina Creates
See at Skillshare
Start Drawing: Techniques for Pencil Portraits with Gabrielle Brickey

Art is a great way to destress and express yourself after work -- or even a profession for some. But you don't need to go back to college or buy expensive tools if you want to learn or become a better artist. There are plenty of great online art classes that are easy and convenient to take and can do wonders for your passion. From figure drawing and illustration to graphic design and more, there is a class that's perfect for you.

We've pulled together five of the best drawing classes online to help you learn the basics of drawing and form your own art style. It's time to grab your pencil and start sketching, regardless of your skill level.

Read more: Procreate App Review: Become an iPad Artist With This $10 App

Udemy/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

The Ultimate Drawing Course on Udemy doesn't ask you to go out and invest in high-end supplies when you're starting out, which I appreciated. The course has 12 sections with 64 class lectures that cover the fundamentals of drawing and build upon each other. On this drawing journey, you'll learn about perspective, texture, drawing from life, drawing the human face and figure, space, value and contrast. There's also a bonus video about animation-style art. 

What it costs: Udemy's course prices are set by the individual instructors from a price tier, unless they choose to offer them for free. The Ultimate Drawing Course is currently $130.

Udemy/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Udemy's Complete Drawing Masterclass course also covers some fundamental artistic teachings like lines, value, contrast and perspective, but goes a bit more in-depth in each lecture. The course also explains art supplies, like different types of paper, suggested brands, sharpening tools and how using a table or an easel can affect your work.  

What it costs: Udemy's course prices are set by the individual instructors from a price tier, unless they choose to offer them for free. The Complete Drawing Masterclass course is currently $85.

Creative Live/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

I liked that art teacher Amy Wynne's landscape course was about enjoying nature and relaxing, too -- which is key, since trying to learn a new skill can be frustrating if you're not picking it up as quickly as you'd like to. Over the course, you'll assemble a field sketch journal as Wynne teaches you about seascapes, countrysides and industrial scenes. In this online class, you'll learn about assembling an efficient (and portable) art kit, how to use light and a viewfinder, sky-to-land ratio, achieving depth and establishing atmosphere.

What it costs:CreativeLive sells a premium subscription for $39 a month or $149 annually. This gives you access to features like the site's entire library of over 2,000 classes and ways to track your goals with learning paths. You can also set up an account and purchase classes individually. For example, Wynne's course costs $14 right now during CreativeLive's seasonal sale. Otherwise, it costs $29.

Skillshare/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Pilot Precise V7 pens (you can find them at office supply stores) are one of my favorite tools for drawing. If you're interested in pen and ink, Yasmina Creates has a course on Skillshare that covers it all.

The online drawing class breaks down the different supplies and how different tools act. You'll also learn tips and tricks about things like line variation, texture and patterns.   

I liked that the class projects displayed on the course page showed varied styles like realism, illustrative and cartoons, so it looks like the instructor gives you room to find your own art style.

What it costs: Some online classes on Skillshare are free when you create an account, but most require a premium membership, which costs $165 annually or $13.75 a month, after a seven-day free trial.

Skillshare/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

This online drawing course is classified as intermediate, so if you're pretty green when it comes to drawing, I wouldn't start with this one. Brickey's class focuses on lifelike pencil portraits, breaking down pencil techniques, facial features and their proportions and supply recommendations. 

Brickey's syllabus lists class supplies needed for this life drawing class: paper, pencils, lead (if you're using mechanical pencils), blenders (tissues, cotton swabs or blending stumps) and erasers. She says you can use any type, but provides specific brand recommendations in the syllabus.

What it costs: Some online classes on Skillshare are free when you create an account, but most require a premium membership, which costs $165 annually or $13.75 a month, after a seven-day free trial.

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